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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Deadly Commandos hit the newsagents

Commando 4515
Here's the latest information on DC Thomson's Commando title, with these four Commando stories now on sale in good newsagents and via iTunes for iPad and iPhone...

Commando 4515 – The Deadly Games
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page
In 1920 the Belgian city of Antwerp hosted the Summer Olympic Games. Russ Wynn and Dave ‘Bunny’ Hare were two of many accomplished yachtsmen there, but a chance encounter with a shady figure from Russ’s recent past brought to light a thrilling adventure from the First World War… and a blood debt that was still to be paid!

Commando 4516

Commando 4516 – Charlie’s Phoney War
Story: Steve Taylor Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Carlos Pino

Charlie Hutchins reckoned he was the most frustrated Hurricane pilot in the RAF. He was champing at the bit to get at the Luftwaffe kites he could see over the German border but standing orders at this early stage of the Second World War stopped him nipping over to knock a few down.

What he couldn’t know was that the so-called Phoney War was just about over. Soon he’d have his hands full dealing with all the Jerries he could possibly have wanted. And a few more for good measure...

Commando 4517

Commando No 4517 – Duel In The Desert
Originally Commando No 38 (September1962)
Story: Dorward Art: Martin Cover: Ken Barr

From Nazi High Command the order went out — “All men and vehicles of the Long Range Desert Group must be destroyed — at any cost.” And the LRDG men smiled grimly. They were marked men. Rommel was out for blood.

So they sped out of their desert lairs to take up his challenge.This is the story of a handful of daredevils in a lone truck, on a mission with no return tickets...

"In the year of the 70th anniversary of the battle of El Alamein, this story of desert raiders paving the way for the advance with a daring night attack behind the lines is very appropriate," says editor Calum Laird of this story. "Men like the crew here risked everything so that the men of the infantry in the van of any advance had the best chance of success possible.

"But don’t think this is a history lesson. Ken Barr’s cover sets the scene for a tale of adventure and action that starts as a slow-burner which explodes into crackerjack action in the hands of Dorward and Martin."Speaking of burners, check out the interrogation scene…"

Commando 4518

Commando 4518 – Stay On Target!

Originally Commando No 2133, (November 1987)

Story: Allan Chalmers Art: Keith Shone Cover: Ian Kennedy

After barely escaping from the blazing wreck of a shot-down Anson, Ray Lyall was constantly haunted by the memory of that terrifying experience.

As the newly-appointed navigator of a Lancaster bomber Ray was responsible for the safety of all the crew — and his nerve could crack at any moment!

"Commando air stories usually feature dashing pilots and daredevil action. So, at first glance, 'Stay On Target!' — with nervy navigator Ray Lyall as its main character — might sound a little underwhelming. This couldn’t be further from the truth," notes Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery.

"However, as the story is subtly different from the perceived Commando norm, while still delivering the expected aerial thrills like dogfights and bombing runs. This is an understated gem, with an engaging script and dynamic art. You’re on course for a cracking read!"

downthetubes is pleased to offer an exclusive discount on a subscription to DC Thomson's Commando comic, entitling readers to save 50% by ordering using our special discount code! Follow this link to DC Thomson's subscription page. When prompted, enter this unique code COMDT - then make your payment and your subscription will be up and running! 

• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/

Commando Official Facebook page

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846

Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

• Steadfast! the Commando artwork exhibition at The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen runs until 30th November 2012. There are more details about the exhibition on the museum website.

Dead Universe's Late Launch today

Mystery Boys #1
Today sees the official launch of Dead Universe Comics in Aylesbury.

Regular readers may recall we mentioned the opening of the shop last year. You may have already seen Aylesbury Dead, Little Terrors and Apes 'n' Capes, plus the Japan Comic Aid books already, but the shop never had a launch as such.

With that in mind they are celebrating today with creator signings, a raffle, tombola, costume parade thousands of comics to give away, thousands of comics all at £1 each, Yu-gi-oh, Magic the Gathering and Pokemon trading card game demos, Roleplaying and board games too -plus preview of the upcoming kids comics and adult anthology titles.

"There might possibly a giant Dead Universe Comics Cake to share amongst us," they say.

The store has a back stock of over 50,000 comics, mainly US, but with a sprinkle of UK comics from the 70's and 80's including annuals. As with othe comic shops, new import comics arrive every week.

- Dead Universe Celebration from 9.00 am today , Friars Square Shopping Centre, Friars Square, HP20 2QF Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Panel Borders: Multimedia comics by Edgar Wright and others



Tommy Lee Edwards + Edgar Wright 
Panel Borders: Multimedia Comics

In the third of our series on comic book collaborators, Alex Fitch talks to two pairs of creators who have created cross platform comics that exist as both as sequential art and moving pictures. Film-maker Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Tommy Lee Edwards (Turf) discuss their interactive motion comic The Random adventures of Brandon Generator designed to promote Internet Explorer 9, and Dave Lander and Stathis Tsemberlidis discuss Decadence #9 plus their spin off short films Immortality and MOA-192B...

8pm, Sunday 22nd July 2012, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at www.resonancefm.com / extended podcast after broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com

(Read Alex's review of The Random adventures of Brandon Generator on Down the Tubes)


Between the lines / Seawigs art
Clear Spot: Young Adult authors

With many kids now on their summer holidays, in this Clear Spot, Alex Fitch looks at two authors who are writing books aimed at the 'tweenage' audience. Philip Reeve discusses his award winning Mortal Engines series, and his new novel Goblins!; Philip also discusses his collaborations with Sarah McIntyre in The Phoenix comic and their forthcoming series Seawigs. Jodi Picoult talks about her first YA novel, Between the Lines, co-written with her daughter Samantha Van Leer, as well as writing comics in her novel The Tenth Circle and her run on Wonder Woman.

8pm, Monday 23rd July 2012, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at www.resonancefm.com / podcast after broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com

Beasts take over the Cartoon Museum!


Animals have always inspired cartoon and comic artists, from the British Lion to Bunny Suicides, Korky the Cat to Simon’s Cat. Now, London's Cartoon Museum is to host an exhibition of animal-inspired cartoons.

The Animal Crackers exhibition includes works by creators such as Nick Abadzis, Leo Baxendale, Alfred Bestall,  Simon Bond, Hunt Emerson, Michael ffolkes, Martin Honeysett, Don Lawrence, Royston Roberston (above), Ronald Searle, Ralph Steadman, Bryan Talbot, Norman Thelwell, Dudley D. Watkins and many, many more.

This cartoon bestiary features the iconic American Eagle, the Russian Bear and the financial Fat Cat, as well as favourite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Wallace and Gromit, Flook, Fred Basset, Gnasher, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and Rupert Bear. Also included are cracking joke cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, The Oldie, The Spectator and many national papers. There is something for everyone with over 140 cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels by over 60 artists.

Throughout history animals have fascinated us. We have hunted, eaten, studied, collected – and drawn them. They inspired our earliest art and our oldest myths. We have given them human attributes: ‘as cunning as a fox’, ‘as wise as an owl’, ‘as brave as a lion’. Selfish pigs and proud peacocks strut their stuff on our gallery walls accompanied by Aesop’s Hare and Tortoise, the Three Bears (minus Goldilocks) and other characters of fur, feather and scale from folk and fairy tales and from literary classics such as the Alice books.

Giants of the natural and unnatural world such as Moby?Dick and the Lambton Worm also feature, as well as beings which only exist in the minds of cartoon and comic artists. Among the ‘marvellous creatures’ are dragons of yore, the Loch Ness monster and a psychedelic horse.

Many of the cartoons suggest how much animals are ‘just like us’. From Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket and King Louie of The Jungle Book to Nick Park’s Gromit, these animals are human in every way that counts. Others, such as Simon’s Cat and Thelwell’s ponies, highlight our pets’ irritating or endearing habits.

Also represented are political animals, both individual and national. When political caricature developed in the eighteenth century it drew on the tradition of heraldic beasts – the English Lion, the Scottish Unicorn and the Habsburg double-headed Eagle. Others such as the Russian Bear and the French Cockerel became established in the nineteenth century.

Certain creatures are purely figments of the cartoonist’s imagination such as David Low’s ‘Coalition Ass’ and ‘TUC Carthorse’. At times animals themselves have taken on a political significance, as in China’s so-called ‘Panda diplomacy’. Politicians can find themselves depicted as King Kong or a chimp, a panda or even a dodo.

The world of animal cartoons is often a surreal place, allowing creatures to stray into the realms of art, business, politics and personal relationships. It reminds us just how much we share with our fellow animals.

• Animal Crackers: A Cartoon and Comic Bestiary; 25th July – 21st October 2012,  Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street London WC1A 2HH. Tel: 020 7631 0793 Web: www.cartoonmuseum.org

Elephantmen versus Strontium Dog story in the works

Elephantmen creator Richard Starkings and artist Boo Cook will be signing at Travelling Man in Leeds this Saturday with advance copies of the fifth Elephantmen hardcover, Devilish Functions.
The collection includes 'Man and Elephantman' (including the sold out one shot and the highly sought after issue by Bulletproof Coffin's Shaky Kane) and 'The Killing Season' plus several extras, including art by J. Scott Campbell and the shocking 'strip' from last year's Liberty Annual by Starkings and Shaky Kane.

Fans of Richard's Elephantmen will have the chance to ask the British creator - a longtime resident in the US these days - about the Elephantmen and Strontium Dog story set to feature in Thought Bubble anthology which will be published in November. 

Bleeding Cool reports the crossover story has been created with the approval of Strontium Dog creator John Wagner and 2000AD.
Richard will also be signing with artist Doug Braithwaite at Travelling Man in Newcastle the on Saturday 28th July.
• More about Elephantmen on the Hip Flask website: www.hipflask.com/elephantmen/

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Black Tower’s Return of the Gods proves an Unexpected Hit



Indie publisher Black Tower is enjoying strong sales for its Return of the Gods collection, originally published for the European market.

Sales of the title totalled more than all Black Tower sales for the previous six months  in just one month and it's earned praise and many fans in Belgium, France and Germany who Black Tower tell us have made this "a really unexpected hit" .

Written and drawn by Terry Hooper-Scharf, the 197 page collection features strips originally published 12 years ago in the small press comics Black Tower Adventure, revised to tell a singular epic tale.

Return of the Gods: Twilight of the Super Heroes sees several storylines combined into one big event. Heroes around the world disappear after being chased by glowing orange spheres - and the world believes them dead though the hero community is pursuing every avenue of investigation, including the possibility that a super villain may be behind the mystery. But the heroes have actually been transported to a huge walled city on a dimensional plane -Neo Genesis - the home of the pantheons of gods under Pax Olympus.

Unknown to them, they are pawns in a game by the gods to use them to fight off the return of the Ancient Old Dark Gods. Meanwhile, on Earth, an alien invasion beach-head action by the Boarmen has taken place. Huge impenetrable domes have concealed cities around the world and all within are trapped - which includes some long forgotten heroes.

Join Black Tower’s Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Singaporean, British and other international heroes in an ultimate adventure where heroes do die and death is final. No one comes back from the dead. 

This edition contains five new pages of art that link this story with the 2014 (Black Tower’s 30th anniversary) Green Skies graphic novel.

"To date, out of the 60 plus books Black Tower has published, this has been the most successful," Terry tells us. "In fact, it’s caught me out! 

"The series was originally published in Adventure 1-6 but as there was a lot of interest in Europe I put all the parts together in a trade. It was only advertised and reviewed in France, Belgium and Germany but from that we’ve sold hundreds of copies.

"The feed-back from Europe is incredible," he adds. "One review on Tales From The Kryptonian blog spot just saw another order boost.

"In other words I’m happy for the first time in a long while!"

Return of the Gods: Twilightof the Super Heroes is available via: www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk. Until 2nd August Return of the Gods is being offered at a reduced cover price -£8.00 instead of the £10.50 it reverts to after the 2nd.

Eagle Day announced for September

(via the Eagle Times): The Eagle Society is to hold an Eagle Day in August to celebrate the classic British comic.

Eagle Days were the idea of the late Bob Rothwell, offering fellow 'Eaglers' and collectors, to chat, swap, buy and sell spare Eagle and other comic-related items - and generally have a good time.

The day will include talks on Eagle-related subjects and a chance to look at displays of Eagle /comic-related items. Light refreshments will be available.

• Eagle Day, The Village Hall, Great Staughton, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire PE19 5DG; Sunday, 23rd September, 2012, 10.00 - 16.00. Single entry £3 - in advance or pay on the door. Bring your spare Eaglecomic items.




• Book a table in the hall for £5. Please address all enquiries including bookings to: Clive O’Dell, 27, The Highway, Great Staughton, Cambridge, PE19 5DA. Telephone 01480 860339

Multiverse #6 Digital Editions on sale


Multiverse #6 - available on Graphic.ly
While the print edition of comics magazine Multiverse #6 has yet to hit UK comic shops, it is available at various online locations, including  Graphicly, Myebook and Comicsplus.

Edited by Mike Conroy, each 52-page issue includes Multiverse’s regular news and reviews sections together with Mike’s long-running comics-to-movies column, Frame to Frame.

Multiverse also includes exclusive interviews with established creators as well as up-and-coming talents, many accompanied by rarely seen art.

This issue's exclusive interviews include Robert Kirkman, discussing Thief of Thieves, The Passenger, Skybound – his Image Comics imprint – and, of course The Walking Dead; Andy Diggle and Jock talk about their latest creator-owned series, Snapshot.

Also in the issue, it’s Avengers Assemble as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hit the big screen and Brian Michael Bendis enters the home stretch as his association with Marvel’s super team comes to an end; Ragemoor’s Jan Strnad and Rich Corben talk about their latest collaboration for Dark Horse; and Grant Morrison and artist Mukesh Singh go back in time for Dynamite’s Dinosaur vs Aliens.

The digital edition costs $2.99.


Multiverse Digital Editions page


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

2000AD, IDW team on Ewing, McCarthy's 'Zaucer of Zilk'

Continuing their new partnership with legendary English publishers 2000AD, IDW Publishing is proud to announce a collection of Al Ewing and Brendan McCarthy’s The Zaucer of Zilk.


The mind blowing story centres on a despondent, alienated young man who finds himself in a mysterious Technicolour candy shop - and his world changes forever. Thrust into the magical, psychedelic world of Zilk and finding himself atop the throne of the legendary Zaucer.

Dimension-hopping onto comic stands this October, The Saucer of Zilk is a story that simply must be seen to be believed, say IDW. The two over-sized issues of Zaucer are bursting at the staples with McCarthy’s brilliantly vivid art and he and Ewing’s fantastically ambitious story, taking readers on a wild, phantasmagorical journey across unique worlds with characters that are colorful to say the least.

“Before the main event of our Judge Dredd partnership begins in November, it’s a blast to also work with 2000 AD in bringing the gorgeous insanity of McCarthy and Ewing’s creation to readers here,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief. “The colorful wonderment Brendan McCarthy worked on the Zilk pages is already embedded in my eyelids forever, and I can’t wait for readers to experience the same thing.”


“I was immediately captivated by The Zaucer of Zilk when Brendan and Al first pitched it to me, and had sensed even then it would be something special. It's great to see the Zaucer's worlds reach an even wider audience through IDW,” said 2000AD Editor Matt Smith.

Zaucer of Zilk #1 of 2 (32 pages, FC, $3.99) will be in stores October 2012. Diamond order code: AUG12 0394.

• Visit IDWPublishing.com or find them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/idwpublishing and http://tumblr.idwpublishing.com/ and on Twitter at @idwpublishing

IDW confirm creative talent on new Judge Dredd US title


After announcing their partnership with the 2000AD at WonderCon 2012 earlier this year, US publisher IDW Publishing and Rebellion have announced Edgar-nominated and Anthony Award-winning Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniél, as the creative team for their brand-new Judge Dredd US comic book series.

The announcement was made to a capacity crowd during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2012 celebrating Dredd’s 35th anniversary.

”I’ve loved the work both Duane and Nelson have done for us separately – they’ve both been responsible for some amazingly action-packed and thrilling comics like Godzilla and The Cape,” said IDW’s Chief Creative Officer, Chris Ryall. “So partnering them on Judge Dredd is only going to amp up the excitement here.

“What’s more,” Ryall continued, “while Nelson will be running point on the main story’s art and colors, we’ll also be doing back-up stories in each issue that are tied to the ongoing storyline and that will be illustrated by some big-name talents as well. Folks like Paul Gulacy, Jim Starlin, and many others.

"Add to that covers by people like Ashley Wood, Carlos Ezquerra, Zach Howard, Whilce Portacio, and so many others, and there will be lots of exciting new artistic interpretations of Dredd to come.”

2000AD’s Matt Smith echoed Ryall’s excitement. “Ever since we announced the deal with IDW, Dredd fans all over the world have been eagerly awaiting news of which writer and artists will be coming to Mega-City One.

"We're really pleased with the creative line-up, which will bring a new dimension to Dredd for a whole new generation. It's been great to see the reaction 2000AD and Judge Dredd have had at SDCC 2012 – and with the new film out in September, 2012 really is the year of Dredd."

IDW’s Judge Dredd series will see new adventures from the legendary character originally created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra for the long-running British weekly comic. For this take on Dredd, IDW and 2000AD wanted to put creators behind the wheel that hadn’t worked with the character before, creating new stories that would appeal to new Dredd fans, as well as long-time lovers of the rich world of Mega City One.

“I discovered Judge Dredd at the tender age of 15 through a somewhat unlikely source: a bootleg Commodore 64 game where you move Dredd through a digital Mega-City One and pretty much shoot everything in sight,” Swierczynski enthused. “Jonesing for more, I realized that Dredd was a UK import, and super-tough to find here in the US.

"Over the next 25 years, I snapped up all the Dredd stories that I could, savouring them like exotic treats smuggled through customs. When IDW announced an American version a while back, I was over the moon -- never even thinking that I would be approached to write this new version. Needless to say, this is the opportunity of lifetime, and I couldn't be more thrilled. The 15-year-old in me may never recover.”

Daniel shared in the excitement “Judge Dredd is one of my three favorite characters, I'm really excited. Everything in Megacity is amazing, everything is possible, and that's something I want to draw.”

• Visit IDWPublishing.com or find them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/idwpublishing and http://tumblr.idwpublishing.com/ and on Twitter at @idwpublishing.

Lazy Oaf launches chic Batman clothing range

Image: Viktor Vauthier © Lazy Oaf
East London-based fashion street wear label Lazy Oaf has just launched a very stylish range of Batman-themed clothing, in the run up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises on 20th July.

Image © Lazy Oaf
Promoted at a swish launch party for press in London last night, the range for women features super hero body suits, leggings, oversized shirts, including a unique play on the bat wing and a super cool 1990’s inspired sheer bat crop top.

The men’s collection features hand picked Batman imagery arranged into their instantly recognizable Lazy Oaf prints. These appear on their staple and popular men’s garments including short sleeve shirting, T-shirts and jersey crew neck sweatshirts.

There's also a stylish Batman knapsack on offer.

Online, the range is being helped with a viral video filmed, directed and edited by João Retorta, with a music from punk-style band Throwing Up (see below).

Under the licensing deal with Warner Bros Consumer Products UK, Lazy Oaf has acquired the global rights to the archive of iconic Batman artwork that it will use on clothing and accessories collections for men and women that launches in-store and online in the UK, Japan, Korea and US this month.

Batman Men's Range

Batman Womens Range

Meet Lazy Oaf's very own BatDog




• For the full range, head over to www.lazyoaf.co.uk/Batman/c201/index.html


• Launch party "Catwomen" photos (and no, we didn't get to go): http://lazyoaf.tumblr.com/post/27339768301/catwomen

Images © Lazy Oaf

Gerry Anderson Walks For Alzheimer's Research

On 28 June 2012 television and film producer, writer and director Gerry Anderson went public with his diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease to promote the launch of the Alzheimer's Society charity sponsored Memory Walks.

He will always be associated with the Thunderbirds television series but Gerry's career began with young children's puppet shows in the 1950s and continued through the Supermarionation shows of the 1960s to the live action shows of the 1970s before he took to mixture of puppets, stop motion, anamatronics and live action in the 1980s and 1990s and then into the new century with CGI.

Gerry's shows have long been a regular part of British comics and their associated summer specials and annuals, with the crowning glory of course being the TV Century 21 weekly from the mid 1960s although comic strips based on his series have also appeared in TV Land, TV Comic, Lady Penelope, Candy, Solo, Countdown, TV Action and Look-In, newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Sunday Times as well as self titled comics for Stingray, Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet And the Mysterons, Space Precinct and New Captain Scarlet. These titles have included work from such well-known and respected British comic artists as Brian Lewis, Ron Embleton, Mike Noble, Frank Bellamy, Ron Turner, John Cooper, John M Burns, Graham Bleathman, Mick Austin and Colin MacNeil.

The Alzheimer's Society covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland and during September and October 2012 they will be organising sponsored Memory Walks around the country to raise money for the charity. Gerry will be taking part in the Memory Walk at Windsor on 13 October 2012 where he will be walking with his son Jamie. Jamie Anderson has opened a Just Giving page at which fans of his father's work can sponsor the pair to take part in the walk as well as leaving them a message of support.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We're so grateful to Gerry for supporting Memory Walk. By speaking out about his dementia he's spreading the message much further that it can happen to anyone. Memory Walk is Alzheimer's Society's flagship fundraising event which sees walks taking place around the UK throughout September. Please join Gerry by signing up for Memory Walk and help us fight dementia together."

Jamie Anderson's Just Giving page for the Alzheimer's Society is here.

There are more details of each of the Alzheimer's Society Memory Walks on the
society website.

Long-time Thunderbirds fan Glo Thorogood was part of Gerry's Alzheimer's Society photo call along with her marionette of Thunderbird 2 pilot Virgil Tracy (seen above with Gerry). Glo will be walking the Virgil puppet as part of the same Memory Walk at Windsor and also has a
Just Giving page for sponsorship for the Alzheimer's Society.

Monday, 16 July 2012

MKomix Fair: comic creators in abundance!

A quick reminder that the MKomix Comic Fair organised by comic creator Paul Rainey takes place this Thursday (19th July) in the Milton Keynes Art Gallery.

Full details of the event, which reads like a Who's Who of some top British indie comics creators, can be found www.MKomix.blogspot.com and include the following:

•  Avery Hill Publishing is a new small press company run by Ricky Miller who currently have two quarterly titles: Reads, a comics anthology and Tiny Dancing, an arts and humour magazine. They also publish the world’s foremost and indeed only collection of extremely close-up photographs of Masterchef. Plans for lots more of this sort of thing are in the offing.
Reads featureswork from some exciting new UK comics talent and includes time-travelling beagles, ghosts, domestic violence, cloud-riding and London cabbies.
The word 'eclectic' was invented for Tiny Dancing - in the latest issue you can find Tom Selleck and David Bowie expounding on their favourite birds of prey, Roy Orbison wrapped in clingfilm and brilliant art from the likes of Soju Tanaka and Lawrence Williams.

•  Sean Azzopardi is a cartoonist and publisher. He has produced numerous mini comics and books for his Phatcomics imprint, acclaimed titles such as Ed and Twelve Hour Shift. Away from self published works he has worked on Necessary Monsters and a back up strip for indy smash Phonogram. Sean has also contributed to a variety of anthologies and has illustrated for magazines, most recent examples can be seen in the current Electric Sheep anthology and Paper Science.

•  William Axtell produces a comic called Demon Gate and the first three issues of which will be available at the event. To see more of his work, please visit his Facebook Art Page here.

•  David Baillie writes and draws comics. His creations appear in places like 2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Self-Assembly Furniture Monthly. He also works in television a bit - mostly drawing storyboards and some writing. He's been nominated and shortlisted for prizes and awards but doesn't like to talk about that. (Mainly due to not winning any of them).
He's also been a stand-up comedian for about six months but he will not tell you any jokes.
If you buy anything from him at MKomix he'll draw you something on some paper that will probably be worth millions of pounds if he ever gets famous and then dies. And if that's not a bargain, I don't know what is.

•  Emily Brady is a mixed media artist, cartoonist, illustrator and art tutor living in a world of her own imagining. She lives on cake and curry and spends her days drawing away and humming a merry tune. 

•  Richy K. Chandler is a London based comic creator and illustrator. His most recent venture is the weekly webcomic about an unpopular teenage girl who happens to be an octopus, Lucy the Octopus . Last year he launched Rosieand Jacinda, a teenage romantic comedy with a hint of fairytale, created with Zarina Liew.
Other work includes Delicate Axiom and the Tempo Lush Mini-Comics range. He’s contributed to Accent UK’s Robot anthology, Factor Fiction’s Girly Comic and currently writes for Titan / Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit newspaper comic strip.
Richy will be selling copies of Lucy the Octopus, Bear Shaped Mini-Comics Box Set, Cosmically Enlightened Gift Set and the teenage romantic comedy with a hint of fairytale, Rosie and Jacinda.

•  Andrew Cheverton is the writer of the long-running West series, illustrated by Tim Keable and approaching the finale of its second volume. West is the tale of both Jerusalem West and the land which spawned him, and is told in a deliberately non-chronological order. His newest project is The Whale House, illustrated by Chris Doherty, which follows Diggory Wallis, recently bereaved and orphaned, on his journey of discovery in the mysterious country house of the title. Andrew also wrote and illustrated the one-off comic Pictures Made of Light, and is a regular artist on Rol Hirst's PJANG and Too Much Sex & Violence.

•  Peet Clack consistently produces some of the funniest and most beautifully drawn comics available. He is responsible for such masterpieces as Crazy Pants, Trouser Madness and Handy (and Hoofy) Home Hints With Afro-Horse.

•  Steve Collier is one of the team behind Japan Comic Aid, which aims to regularly publish comics, manga and graphic novels around the world to raise money for those in Japan who are in need of rebuilding their life by teaming up, reducing costs and using ALL profits for the Japan Society Tohuku Earthquake Appeal fund.

•  Laura Watton-Davies (aka Pinkapplejam) has been making her own comics since the mid 90s and is influenced by cartoons, zombies, Japanese fashion plus everything cute. She will be bringing art prints and one-shots to MKomix.

•  Decadence Comics is an independent comics collective formed by Lando and Stathis Tsemberlidis in 2003. Since their inception they have self published eight issues of the distinctive Decadence anthology, as well as a clutch striking single issue comics.
The Decadence aesthetic is a heady blend of science fiction, Ballardian near future musings and psychedelic altered states. Their work recalls the best of early European sci-fi comics, whilst maintaining a strong identity of their own. Decadence, by virtue of their approach, influences and interests, are a highly unique entity on the UK underground comics circuit. Their comics map the outer reaches of sci-fi, tracing out the contours of some strange cosmic zone that only a handful of intrepid travelers have dared stray into.

•  Jay Eales and Selina Lock are the publishers of the fabulous Violent! and Girly Comic titles, as well as being heaving involved in the wonderful Caption conference for independent British comic creators.

•  Rol Hirst has been writing small press comics for 20 years. He was a prominent member of the early 90s scene with his long-running comic The Jock (in collaboration with a number of artists, mostly the amazing Nigel Lowrey). Other books he released back then included Slick 'n' His Conscience (with Adrian Bamforth), My Legendary Girlfriend and Escape Committee (both with Dave Metcalfe). He returned to the scene in the 21st Century with his anthology book PJANG (People Just Ain't No Good), working with a number of his former collaborators, plus other giants of the small press world, including Andrew Cheverton, Kelvin Green, Tony McGee, Chris Askham, Ryan Taylor and Paul Rainey.
He's currently producing Too Much Sex & Violence, a new ongoing comic set in the bizarre, corrupt, depraved and freak-infested northern seaside town of Fathomsby. It's drawn by everybody above, plus some other talented fools Rol has been able to blackmail.

•  John Maybury - comic artist and occasional editor, John is the creator of the brilliant adults-only Space Babe 113, an absurdist, surreal, adult SF comedy. He came up with this in an attempt to explore sexy, abstract characters as a story telling vehicle - and make naughty jokes.
Space Babe 113 features artificially intelligent talking knickers, aliens and big hair. The artwork is stylish and minimalist and her latest comic, Costumes, Comics and Conventions will début at MKomix.

•  Rob Jackson has been creating some of the best self-published comics of the last few years including Gin Palace, Goblin Hall and Flying Leaf Creature. Rob will be selling a selection of his work including his recent It's A Man's Life In The Ice Cream Business, the compelling story of his ice cream business.

•  Ralph Kidson - one of the funniest creators in comics, creator of Captain Dolphin, Sad Animal and Hootiebits.

•  Dan Lester is the creator of titles such as Monkeys Might Puke! and The Dan Lester Mysteries  in which small press creator Dan becomes embroiled in murder and mayhem! Features art by Oliver Lambden.

•  Amy Letts is the creator of the long-running and very popular web comic Epic Fail, inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.

•  Ash Pure descreibes himself as "a powerful magician, a traveller between realities (an Altered Statesman) and a creator of worlds." He also makes a very good cup of tea (not too strong, not too weak – just right) and is a founding member of JWH Creative partners, providing the pretty pictures.

•  Paul Rainey, organiser of the Fair is a Milton Keynes based cartoonist responsible for Memory Man, Love Bomb, internet diary strip Book of Lists, the 318 paged There's No Time Like The Present (soon to be collected as a graphic novel by Escape Books) and Thunder Brother: Soap Division (currently appearing every Sunday here).He'll be selling the Book of Lists collection and premièring the very first issue of his latest project, Thunder Brother: Soap Division.

•  Suzanna Raymond - Milton Keynes based creator: a fine artist who will be displaying her work as well as the comics of some of her friends.

•  Karen Rubins was the Comics Artist in Residence at the V&A between July and December 2009 and is an award-winning creator of comics and manga. Her small-press work includes the surreal road-trip series DARK, shamanic comedy adventure Urban Beasts, and medieval witchcraft drama Blood Magic. She writes, draws, reads, collects, buys, recommends and teaches comics. You can follow her on twitter @kazmantra and visit her website here.
Karen will be exhibiting and selling Blood Magic Limited Edition Prints with free comic, or Sticker Packs with a free comic, Urban Beasts parts 1 and 2 and Leek and Sushi UK Manga Anthology.
She will also be doing personalised sketches - Urban Beasts Portraits (with you depicted as your inner animal self) or anything else you want drawn to order!

•  Jade Sarson is one of the event's local creators who will be exhibiting and selling her comics at the event. Jade kindly designed the excellent leaflet for the event and you can see lots of samples of her striking work at her website here.

•  Jon Scrivens is the creator of the time travel web comic When's Graham, Little Terrors and Broken Gears.

Aisza Sowa - Milton Keynes based comic creator who will be exhibiting both his own work, including Insanity Warriors 1 and Meaw, and the work of other members of the MK Manga Club.

•  Rob Wells has been writing and drawing comics since the early 1990s. He is the creator of the comics Crisp Biscuit, Crisp, The Devil's Daughter, Colin Comix, and Crisp Biscuit Comics. He drew the Bear Man & Twinkle mini-comic that came with #6 of Martin Eden's Spandex, contributed art to the first three issues of Rol Hirst's Too Much Sex & Violence (and will also be drawing a couple of pages for #5), and is currently drawing a comic called Department of the Peculiar, also written by Hirst, the first issue of which should be out very soon. He has also drawn a six page strip called Body Pop, written by Paul Rainey, which should be appearing in the next issue of Strip Magazine. His work can be found online at www.crispbiscuit.co.uk and www.crispbiscuit.blogspot. com.

"I'm very pleased with the range of comic creators appearing, a full list of which can be found in this particular post
I would be very grateful if you could remind your readers of the MKomix Comic Fair and that it is free to enter sometime this week. It is an opportunity for people to experience a broad range of modern British comics as well as the extraordinary Pushwangner exhibition.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Spaceship Away 27 on sale now

Spaceship Away 27
Issue 27 of the Eagle-inspired comic magazine Spaceship Away is available now, this time with a background theme drawing on the Dan Dare story The Red Moon, featuring a number of paintings relating to that story from both Don Harley and Tim Booth.

Most importantly, aside from ne Dan Dare and other comic strips, the issue pays tribute to, and has last words from artist Bruce Cornwell, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

The strip line up is as follows:

  • "Dan Dare: Parsecular Tales" by Tim Booth - part four of an epic new adventure continuing the original Dan Dare legend
  • "Shadow over Britain", a Journey into Space story by Charles Chilton, based on the 1950s radio show
  • “Thoughts That Kill” by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines, a short one off story of the danges of telepathic civillisation
  • "Dan Dare: Amberlint" (Part One) written and drawn by Nick Spender, an ex-student of Dan Dare's original creator Frank Hampson
  • "Garth: Finality Factor" (Part Four) by Jim Edgar and John Allard, art by Martin Asbury
Alongside tributes to Bruce Cornwell, features this issue include 

  • ‘Diego Valor’: downthetubes contributor Jeremy Briggs reveals the history of a Spanish spin off of Dan Dare.
  • Graham Bleathman has produced a cutaway of Dan’s apartment, based on Eagle published frames and notes by Greta Tomlinson, who was a member of the strip's original studio
Looking ahead, the editorial team tell us they have some amazing items coming up in our autumn issue, including a Jeff Hawke / Dan Dare strip by Sydney Jordan and Don Harley. Issue 28 is due in November.

- To get Spaceship Away delivered to your door, head over to the official website: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk

Famous Five to ape Doctor Who (or is that Timeslip?)

The cast of The Famous Five
1978 production, scripted by
Richard Carpenter
London-based Kindle Entertainment, makers of the critically acclaimed CBBC show Leonardo are to turn Enid Blyton's The Famous Five into a time travel show.

The company recently announced it has has entered into a co-production pact with Hachette UK, which recently acquired a majority of the estate of author Enid Blyton from Chorion, to create a new TV series based on Blyton's beloved kid's book series.

Kindle Entertainment will pitch the TV series to broadcasters and distributors to secure funding to produce the series and says it plans to maintain the core values of the original stories (first published in 1942), while designing a programme that is appealing to kid's today.

The new series will include an element of time travel that follows the protagonist George, a modern girl, and her dog Timmy as they are transported back through the decades to Kirrin Bay in 1954.

There, she meets characters Julian, Dick and Anne, who are spending the summer with Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny. The 'Famous Five' will embark on numerous adventures based on Blyton 's original plots.

Through each episode George will gradually learn more about Uncle Quentin's mysterious experiments before all is revealed in a final twist.

The concept would seem to echo, albeit slightly, the 1970s time travel series Timeslip, which was also a popular strip in Look-In, drawn by Mike Noble; while appealing, perhaps to fans of Doctor Who.

There have of course been several TV adaptations of The Famous Five, one of which starred Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures Gary Russell in his earlier career as a child actor. Produced in 1978, it was scripted by Richard Carpenter, who also created Catweazle, Black Beauty, Dick Turpin and Robin of Sherwood.

Kindle Entertainment's shows include Leonardo, a 13-part series following the awesome and audacious adventures of a teenage Leonardo da Vinci, which was shot in South Africa where an incredible set of Renaissance Florence was built. The series airs on CBBC in the UK.

Owned by Hatchette Livre, Hachette UK is the most diversified book publishing group in the UK, with a unique policy of encouraging its publishing houses to operate autonomously. Among its houses and imprints are Hachette Children’s Books, Headline Publishing Group, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Education, John Murray, Little, Brown Book Group, Octopus Publishing Group and Orion Publishing.



Photos From The Opening Of The Aberdeen Commando Exhibition

It's not often a comics event is opened with a bagpiper, even in Scotland, so driving into the car park of the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen on a slightly overcast summer's morning to the skirl of the pipes set the tone for the day as being something rather special.


After the Commando artwork exhibitions at the National Army Museum in London and the University of Dundee last year, the Gordon Highlanders Museum is the third institution to display the many fully painted covers of the now 51 year old DC Thomson war comic under the title Steadfast! Commando At The Gordon Highlanders Museum.

Their exhibition is divided into two main sections with a general selection of covers and interior pages in one area and, because the Gordon Highlanders were part of the Monty's 8th Army in the North African campaign during WWII, a Desert Rats section displaying many covers with a desert theme including the original artwork for Issue 1 Walk or Die which was set during the desert war.

The official opening of the exhibition in the morning was a private event in front of invited guests including the Lord Provost and Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen George Adam, DC Thomson director Murray Thomson, and many former members of the Gordon Highlanders regiment, and it including short speeches from curator Jesper Ericsson and Commando editor Calum Laird.

After the official opening and drinks, everyone moved downstairs to the main part of the exhibit where the majority of the covers were displayed along with the original artwork for the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife that the title uses as its logo.

This section also included a selection of internal art pages and descriptions of the history of the titles as well as how any given issue is created from script to the final printing.

downthetubes interviewed museum curator Jesper Ericsson (above) before the exhibition and on the day his knowledge of Commando, as well as his enthusiasm for the exhibition, shone through in his speeches and introductions for the Commando creators that were present.

BBC Scotland were on hand to cover the exhibition with their cameraman taking closeup shots of the artwork whilst their journalist recorded an interview for BBC Radio Scotland with Jesper and Calum...

...before the camera was set up in the second room for the television interviews to take place again with Jesper and Calum Laird (above). These interviews were broadcast as part of that evening's Reporting Scotland BBC1 news broadcast at 1830 and have since been given a permanent link on the BBC News website.

The second room covered the Gordon Highlanders participation in the North African campaign with a selection of photos and other military memorabilia in cases whilst the Commando covers in this room were specifically to do with desert warfare under the heading of 'Desert Rats'.

The cases also gave the museum the chance to display some of the Commando office's collection of non-UK editions of the comic included a highly unusual coloured version of the normally black and white comic that was published in India.

They also gave deputy editor Scott Montgomery (left) and graphic designer Grant Wood (right) a chance to examine the real weapons and military kit that they are so used to featuring in the pages of the comic.

After lunch the Commando team gathered upstairs once again for a talk and a question & answer session that was open to the public. This featured (from left to right) graphic designer Grant Wood, former editor George Low, deputy editor Scott Montgomery, editor Calum Laird, artist Ian Kennedy and artist Gordon Livingstone who all answered questions about their work from local children, long time fans and even the museum volunteers.

Ian Kennedy is Commando's pre-eminent cover artist with over 1200 issues to his credit as well as being quite probably the UK's most experienced comic strip artist still working today with his art first appearing in DC Thomson story papers in the 1950s. Gordon Livingstone began a 38 year association with Commando when he drew issue 4 in 1961 and, as well as painting covers, drew the internal artwork for almost 400 issues before retiring in 1999. Ian rarely speaks at comic events while I have never known Gordon to attend a comics event before, so the museum had quite a coup on their hands when both artists agreed to participate in the Q&A.

My favourite image of the day was taken at the signing session after the Q&A - two old friends and golfing buddies play up to the camera as Ian Kennedy has to 'force' Gordon Livingstone to sign a large poster of Ian's artwork.

This picture seems to sum up the relaxed and enjoyable nature of the day's events and Jesper Ericsson and his staff and volunteers at the Gordon Highlanders Museum are to be congratulated for both an impressive exhibition and an entertaining comics event.

With thanks to the Commando office for the invitation and to the Gordon Highlanders Museum for their hospitality.

The Steadfast! Commando At The Gordon Highlanders Museum runs from 9 July to 30 November 2012. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the normal museum admission price.

There are more details of the Gordon Highlanders Museum at the museum website and an up-to-date listing of all the museum's events are in the website's events section.

There are more details of Commando at the official Commando comic website.

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